ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Death & Loss of Life

How to Write a Condolence or a Sympathy Note

Updated on September 14, 2014

Sending Sympathies

With Sympathy
With Sympathy | Source

Tips for Writing and Sympathy Note Examples

Taking a bit of time to write a condolence note or condolence letter can bring a great source of comfort and be a gift of healing for a friend or a loved one who is grieving a loss.

According to research by Hallmark, Americans send nearly 125 million sympathy cards every year. There are a many different types of sympathy cards available now for many different types of losses.

People often do not entirely understanding the importance of sending a sympathy note until they have lost a loved one themselves.

Once someone has personally experienced the benefits of receiving condolence notes from friends and family following the death of a loved one, they are more likely to send sympathy notes to others when their loved ones die. Learn more about when to send and how to write a condolence note.

(See the Related Hubs for How to Write a Condolence Letter or How to Write a Sympathy Card or How to Write a Pet Sympathy Card or Can I Send My Condolences by Text?.)

Background Information About Condolence Notes

There may be times and circumstances when you prefer expressing your sympathy in a short note or selecting and sending a beautiful card to send with a hand written note instead of a writing out a longer formal condolence letter.

In these situations you can write a brief personal note on commercial condolence card or insert a brief hand-written note into a hand-crafted card.

When sending a sympathy card, I like to make a special card or take care in selecting a card with a soothing image.

My mother selects one of the photographs she has taken and sends one of her beautiful hand-made photograph cards as her own a personal touch to a condolence note.

Helpful Tips on How to Write a Condolence Note - Video

How Do You Send Condolences?

You've just heard that someone you know has lost a loved one and you know that you need to respond.


When sending your condolences do you usually

See results

Why Write a Sympathy or Condolence Note?

A Sympathy or Condolence Note is a simple way to let someone know you care after the death of a loved one.

A Condolence or Sympathy Note can become a treasured memento of your friendship and support during a difficult and challenging time.

Rose and Tribute

Rose and Tribute
Rose and Tribute | Source

Send a Meaningful Gift to a Grieving Person

Bereaved people say that condolence notes or sympathy letters from friends and family are some of their most meaningful mementos of a difficult time. In many regards a note sent during a time of loss may be the most touching gift you can send.

These notes and letters become tangible reminder that can be held and touched, of friends and family who cared about their loved one and about them.

The bereaved person may re-read the letters of condolence over again days, weeks or years after the loss any time they want to feel the support.

Re-reading the condolence notes is a way to re-experience the loving thoughts and tender memories written by caring friends during a time of great sorrow.

A Beautiful Sympathy Card

Sympathy Bereavement Sentiment Heartfelt Greeting Card 5x7 by QuickieCards
Sympathy Bereavement Sentiment Heartfelt Greeting Card 5x7 by QuickieCards

This beautiful sympathy card with a simple wish for "Peace"

Inside reads: "As your heart searches for strength, may it also find peace. With love and sympathy "

Size: 4.75" x 6.75"

 

Condolence Note or Condolence Letter - Which one should I Send?

Condolence Letter

Letters of condolence are longer, more formal, often hand-written expressions of sympathy. They should be sent within two weeks of hearing the news.

Condolence Note

Condolence or Sympathy Cards are often used when people want to express their sympathy in a shorter form or as a card.

People often include brief personal notes on a commercial condolence card. The Sympathy card is a way of sending your sympathies in a timely manner. The Condolence card can be sent off immediately upon hearing the news, and then ideally followed up with a letter in a few weeks.

Source: Zunin and Zunin. The Art of Condolence available on Amazon.

Reasons to Send a Condolence Card

There are many different beneficial reasons for writing a condolence card.

  1. Condolence notes are reminders that the loved one had people who cared for and love him or her.
  2. Condolence notes show your concern and that you care.
  3. Condolence notes help with the grieving process and the healing process.
  4. Condolence notes may become treasured mementos that are passed down through the family.
  5. In the business world a condolence note is a way of telling someone that they matter as a human being.

Treasured Memories

Treasured Memories.
Treasured Memories. | Source

A collection of sympathy cards and note that were saved by the recipient as mementos of the death of a loved one and support of dear friends.

Treasured Memories. MTrain14. Sympathy. Used with permission.

Ways to Save Treasured Cards and Notes

Sympathy Card Memory Keepers and Card Keeper boxes make it easy to save your special cards in one place.

Old Letters

Old Letters
Old Letters | Source

Corroboration from a Visitor

One of the visitors to this page agrees...

I can say without a doubt, the cards meant the world to me. I have all of them saved, I will always keep them forever and ever.

They are a part of me that still allows me to connect with my husband, mother and father.

Donna Lynn Fooks

The Importance of Sympathy Cards as Keepsakes

This blog entry from 2006 is a good example of how much importance and meaning people get from condolence cards, even years later.

Condolence and Sympathy Cards to Send

A beautiful collection of nature themed solace and sorrow cards.

Sympathy Bereavement Comfort Peace Sorrow Greeting Card 5x7 by QuickieCards
Sympathy Bereavement Comfort Peace Sorrow Greeting Card 5x7 by QuickieCards

This card reads, May the Skies above look upon you... in your time of sorrow.

 

Basics of a Condolence or Sympathy Note

Parts of a Condolence Letter or a Note

Condolence Letter

Zunin and Zunin, authors of The Art of Condolence reviewed thousands of letters to determine how condolence letters are typically organized.

They identified seven key components to include when writing a condolence letter. These components include:

  • 1. Acknowledge the loss and the name of the deceased.
  • 2. Express your sympathy.
  • 3. Note special qualities of the deceased.
  • 4. Include a memory of the deceased.
  • 5. Remind the bereaved of their personal strengths or special qualities.
  • 6. Offer help, but make sure it is a specific offer.
  • 7. End the letter with a thoughtful word, a hope, a wish or expression of sympathy e.g. "You are in my thoughts and prayers."

Condolence Note

In contrast, Zunin and Zunin recommend when writing a condolence note that the writer focus on just four of the seven components of a condolence letter. When writing the shorter, condolence note just focus on the four main parts of the letter:

  • 1. Acknowledge the loss and the name of the deceased.
  • 2. Express your sympathy.
  • 3. Note special qualities of the deceased.
  • 7. End the letter with a thoughtful word, a hope, a wish or expression of sympathy e.g. "You are in my thoughts and prayers." ("Sincerely," "love," or "fondly," may not be the best choices.)

The Art of Condolence

The Art of Condolence: What to Write, What to Say, What to Do at a Time of Loss
The Art of Condolence: What to Write, What to Say, What to Do at a Time of Loss

A classic book about how to write Condolence letters.

This is one of the grief books that I have in my own personal collection.

Highly recommended

 

Ways to Close a Sympathy Card or Letter

When ending the sympathy card, try to use a thoughtful word, a hope, a wish or expression of sympathy e.g. "You are in my thoughts and prayers."

"Sincerely," "love," or "fondly," may be acceptable for other closings for other types of correspondences, but are generally not the best choices for sympathy notes or condolence letters.

Here are some other possibilities:

  • I'm praying for you
  • You are in my thoughts
  • With Deepest Sympathy
  • My sincere sympathy
  • With Heartfelt Condolences
  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you
  • He/She will never be forgotten
  • The memory of him/her will always be in our hearts
  • Thinking of you
  • Thinking of you during this difficult time
  • May God's Grace strengthen you
  • May your heart and soul find peace and comfort
  • My affectionate respects to you and yours.
  • Our love is with you always.
  • You are in my thoughts and prayers.
  • You know you have my deepest sympathy and my love and friendship always.
  • My heart and my tears are with you.
  • We share in your grief and send you our love.
  • We offer our affectionate sympathy and many beautiful memories.
  • My thoughts are with you now, and I send you my deepest sympathy.
  • We all join in sending you our heartfelt love.
  • May the love of those around you help you through the days ahead.
  • May hope and peace be yours today and always.
  • Sharing in your sorrow.
  • Someone so special... ...can never be forgotten.
  • Praying for you...
  • In our thoughts and prayers.

Articles on Writing a Condolence Note or Letter

Articles written on Suite 101 about Writing Condolence Cards or Letters.

Make a Condolence Note

With Deepest Sympathy

With Deepest Sympathy
With Deepest Sympathy | Source

Create a Sympathy Card

Creating something is a good way of coping with a loss. I find being able to do something creative with my hands during a difficult time can help me cope with the situation.

Making your own card to send is also a good way of conveying a personal touch when delivering your sympathy.

With a few photographs, some stamps and some blank cards, you can easily create your own sympathy card or condolence note.

How to Make a Condolence Card

Set to the beautiful music, "I will Remember You" by by Sarah McLachlan.

More on Making and Personalizing a Card

Articles written on Suite 101 about Personalizing Condolence Cards or Letters.

A Beautiful Handmade Sympathy Card.

Handmade Sympathy Card
Handmade Sympathy Card | Source

Image Source: Michael Cook. Handmade Sympathy Card. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved. This beautiful card is made by his wife Cindy.

Create Your Own Sympathy Card

Create your own personal sympathy cards with a stamp set and classic stationery cards.

White Note Cards

Crane & Co. White Paneled Frame Note (CN1374)
Crane & Co. White Paneled Frame Note (CN1374)

White note cards to use for creating your own sympathy cards.

 

Sympathy Mini Stamps

Kaisercraft 3-Inch by 5-Inch Sympathy Words Mini Clear Stamps
Kaisercraft 3-Inch by 5-Inch Sympathy Words Mini Clear Stamps

An assortment of sympathy expressions to use for stamping personalized cards.

 

A Handmade Tea Bag Card

Handmage Teabag Card
Handmage Teabag Card | Source

Books about Writing a Condolence Note

These books about writing condolence and sympathy notes include etiquette and offer many helpful suggestions to help you personalize a condolence note.

Words for when there are No Words: Writing a Memorable Condolence Note
Words for when there are No Words: Writing a Memorable Condolence Note

A helpful for writing a sympathy note for some of the more challenging types of loss like sudden death, suicide and miscarriages.

 
Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion
Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion

A Kindle book that will help you in writing notes from the heart.

 

Examples of Sympathy & Condolence Cards

A Condolence Note for a Death

Solace

Solace Card
Solace Card | Source

Writing and Sending a Condolence Card or Note

These days, writing letters and cards seems to be a long lost skill.

When it comes to the death of a friend, particularly the sudden death of a friend it is important to send condolences for a couple of reasons.

Sending a Condolence Card or Note is a meaningful, heart-felt way of letting someone who has experienced a loss know you are thinking of them in their time of sorrow.

Sending a Sympathy Card is particularly important for the family, long after the death. These notes and letters become tangible reminders of the caring you displayed during their time of loss. These tangible reminders can be held and touched and shared as proof of friends and family who cared about their loved one and about them.

A Condolence Note for a Sudden Death

An Old Wreck

Old Wreck
Old Wreck | Source

Writing Condolence Notes after a Sudden Death

A sudden death occurs without any forewarning; it is unanticipated. A traumatic death, in addition to being sudden, can also be violent, mutilating or destructive.

The sudden death can be random and/or preventable or may involve many deaths.

A sudden, accidental, unexpected or traumatic death shatters the world as we know it. It is often a loss that does not make any sense. In an instance the lives of the survivors are changed forever.

Sending your support and sympathies to shaken survivors of a sudden death becomes very beneficial in the healing process.

Source: Dan Mitchell. Old Wreck. Royalty Free Use.

Example of a Condolence Note for a Sudden Death

An example of a sympathy letter to a friend whose husband died suddenly in an unexpected accident.

  1. Acknowledge the loss.

    Example:

    Dear ___________

    I was deeply saddened to hear the news about Jeff's sudden death.


  2. Express your sympathy.

    Example:

    My thoughts are with you, your children and your family during this difficult time. I am still in a state of shock from the news.


  3. Note special qualities of the deceased.

    Example:

    I remember Jeff's calmness, level headedness and dry sense of humor. I also remember how supportive he was to all of us during those crazy times. I will miss him.


  4. End with a thoughtful word, quote or phrase.

    Example:

    I think of Jeff when I hear Josh Groban's Lyrics "To Where You Are"

    Fly me up

    To where you are

    Beyond the distant star

    I know you're there

    A breath away's not far

    To where you are

    Holding you in my thoughts.

    Your signature ____________


Sympathy Card by Lynn Harrison Video

A Condolence Note for a Military Death

Example of a Condolence Note/Letter for a Military Death

Source: First Army. Sample Condolence letter.

  1. Acknowledge the loss.

    Example:

    Dear ___________

    On behalf of the Battalion # (Squadron #, the Ship, Regiment #) ________, I wish to convey our deepest sympathy to you upon the death of your husband, __________.


  2. Express your sympathy.

    Example:

    I extend my condolences to you and your family.


  3. Note special qualities of the deceased.

    Example:

    During ________'s many years of service in the ________, he distinguished himself among his co-workers and supervisors with his pleasant, enthusiastic manner and continuing high-quality performance.

    He was a valued member of our Battalion (Squadron, the Ship, Regiment) and you can be justly proud of his contributions.

    His friends and co-workers remember him with respect and admiration and he will be missed by all.


  4. End with a thoughtful word, quote or phrase.

    (The Military may be one of the few places where the fairly formal closure "Sincerely" is used.)

    Example:

    I hope that time and memories will help lessen the burden of your sorrow, and that you may draw some measure of comfort knowing that others care and share in your loss.

    Sincerely,

    Your signature ____________


A Condolence Note for the Death of a Child

Writing a Condolence Note for the Death of a Child or Baby

The death of a child, no matter what age, is always a difficult loss for parents to bear. Since many parents see children as an extension of themselves, the death of a child is the death of hopes and dreams for the future.

The death of a child disrupts the natural order of thing in which grandparents die before parents and parents die before their children.

  1. The way that a child has died affects the type of grief that the parent experiences. Parents may grieve very differently over the death of a stillbirth, a baby, a sudden unexpected death or a prolonged illness.
  2. Guilt and anger are especially pronounced emotions following the death of a child.
  3. Parents are likely to go through the "What if's" and "If only's."
  4. A child's death is a challenge to every marriage.
  5. The father's grief may be hidden, downplayed or ignored.
  6. Siblings and grandparents also mourn the death of the child, in addition to the parents.
  7. Families often struggle to make sense of the death of a child.

Example of a Condolences for the Death of a Baby

A short example of a sympathy letter following the death of a baby or newborn.

  1. Acknowledge the loss.

    Dear __________,

    I was saddened to hear of the sudden loss of your baby.

    I know you have been excitedly planning for her arrival which is making the day you say "Hello" be the same as the day that you say "Good-bye," be even more difficult.


  2. Express your sympathy.

    I am thinking about you during this difficult time and sending my heartfelt sympathy.


  3. Note special qualities of the deceased or the bereaved.

    I have seen you handle challenges in the past and wish you the strength to make it through this difficult period.


  4. End with a thoughtful word or phrase.

    Holding you in my thoughts,

    Your signature ____________


Dear Parents Book for Bereaved Parents

Dear Parents: Letters to Bereaved Parents
Dear Parents: Letters to Bereaved Parents

A collection of letters to bereaved parents written by bereaved parents from the Centering Corporation, well-known leaders in the bereavement field.

This is a helpful gift for newly bereaved families.

 

Example Condolence Note for the Death of a Child

An example of a sympathy note that could be written for the death of a child.

  1. Acknowledge the loss and name the deceased.

    Dear ______,

    We are so saddened by the news of your dear son ________ death.


  2. Express your sympathy.

    We wish we could find words to ease your pain.

    Losing a child is one of the saddest life challenges and words that can give you true comfort are difficult to find.


  3. Remind the bereaved of their personal strengths.

    Do know that we are thinking of you during this time of loss.


  4. End with a word or phrase or sympathy.

    You have our sincere condolences and sympathy.

    In sympathy,

    (Your Signature) __________


Scripture Cards

Boxed Gift Cards Sympathy-Peaceful Reflections (12 Pack)
Boxed Gift Cards Sympathy-Peaceful Reflections (12 Pack)

Scripture Cards with verses from King James Version Bible.

 

Scripture Sympathy Cards

Many people find sympathy cards with scripture quotes from the Bible to provide them with additional comfort during a time of loss.

Amazon carries several different collection of beautiful cards with scripture quotes.

The peaceful reflections nature scene cards to the right come with scripture quotes from Psalms, Romans and Philippians of the King James Version.


A Condolence Note Written by a Child

Child Coloring a Card

Child Making a Card.
Child Making a Card. | Source

Letting Your Child Create a Condolence Card

When there is a loss, children feel that loss as well. Having the child or children make a card can be a helpful activity for the child.

Some of the most heartfelt notes are written by children, because kids are so open and honest. Children are able to express very powerful sentiments in simple words and simple pictures that may be more meaningful than the most elaborate store-bought card.

When we got word that my father-in-law had died, I encouraged my daughters to create special sympathy cards for my mother-in-law. The activity gave the girls something to do while we were absorbing the news of the death.

In the process the girls created something tangible, very beautiful and from their hearts that could be given to their grandmother to console her at her time of loss.

Children and Get Well Cards

Some of the most heartfelt notes are written by children, because kids are so open and honest. Children are able to express very powerful sentiments in simple ways.

Get Well Cards

Notes from youngsters are very special, especially if the recipient is seriously ill. Florence Issacs describes an incidence involving an eight-year-old sending a get well card to his 70-year-old grandfather who had just suffered a heart attack

  • Please get well, Grandpa.
  • Who else will play gin rummy with me?
  • Who will tell me stories?
  • I love you, Grandpa.

These very heartfelt and honest sentiments may have helped the child's grandfather in this instance to recover.

Source: Isaacs F. Finding the Right Words. Right-Writing.com

Example of Condolence Notes from Children

From a Child to a Child

Dear Austin

I am sorry to hear that your father died. I am so sorry that I want to cry.

He was really a great dad. We had such a great time when he took us fishing. I don't understand why he died.

Will you come back to school soon? I miss playing with you at recess.

Love,

James

***************************************************

From a Child to an Adult

Dear Ms. Tanner,

I am feeling awful about what has happened to your father, Mr. Tanner. Your father had a lot of courage. Here is a poem:

  • Roses are red, violets are blue,
  • I am sorry to hear that awful news,
  • But do not forget I am thinking
  • About you and your family too.
I hope you come back soon. Our substitute is o.k., but not as good as you,

Your student

Cindy

Source: Adapted from Zunin and Zunin. The Art of Condolence available on Amazon.

Coloring a Condolence Card

Coloring a Card
Coloring a Card | Source

A Condolence Note for the Death of a Pet

Poor Sue Spring - Pet Headstone

Poor Little Sue Spring
Poor Little Sue Spring | Source

Special Considerations on the Death of a Pet

Pet losses are often considered to be a disenfranchised loss; this is a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, publicly mourned, or socially supported. The person who has suffered such a loss may feel that he or she does not have the right to act as if he/she is bereaved.

In addition, the death of a pet may trigger old griefs and other old losses, serving as a reminder of previous losses.

Since many people, non-pet owners don't understand the importance of the loss of a pet, the grief that results following the death of a pet may suppressed by the bereaved. Pet owners grieving the loss of a beloved companion pet may feel that others will think they are foolish, mourning the death of an animal.

When sending condolences on the death of a pet, there are a few things that people should consider.

  • Use the pet's name. The animal was very special to your friend and should be named, not referred to as "your dog" or "your cat."
  • Recall the pet. If possible include one of your own experiences with your friend's pet. Mention one of the animal's positive or lovable traits.
  • Do not talk about getting a new pet. It takes many people time to get over the death of a pet. The condolence letter is not the place to tell your friend to think about getting another new pet.

With pet's becoming members of the family, taking time to acknowledge the death and send condolences seems more natural.

Pet Condolence Cards on Amazon

Pet Condolence Cards were not that available when this lens was first written. Fortunately that has changed.

Pet Sympathy Greeting Card - In Loving Memory
Pet Sympathy Greeting Card - In Loving Memory

Pet sympathy card featuring several different types of pets.

 

Examples of Sympathy Cards for a Pet Death

Simple Example - Loss of a Cat

Dear Sandy,

Please accept my sympathy on the death of your dear companion, Isis.

I know the big role she played in your life, and I am very sorry that she is no longer with you.

I will be thinking of you as you grieve the loss of your beloved cat.

You are in my thoughts,

Your Signature ____________________

**************************************************

Simple Example - Loss of a Dog

Dear Billy

I wanted to tell you how sorry I was to hear of the death of your dear dog, Spot. He was such a great friend to you.

I remember seeing the two of you scampering off to play together on many occasion.

This is a difficult and sad time for you. I wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you,

Aunt Lucy

Sources:

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston. Writing Condolences for Pets. Business Writing Blog.

Adapted from Zunin and Zunin. The Art of Condolence available on Amazon.

Condolence Card for the Loss of a Pet

Pet Sympathy Card
Pet Sympathy Card | Source

A sympathy card from their Veterinarian on the loss of a beloved pet.

Condolence Note for a Pet or Companion Animal

Dr. Bruce Feldmann shares his thoughts and uses of the Condolence letter and condolence package in the article published in the Journal of the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

Some of the highlights of article are summarized below:

  • Genuine, specific, timely emotional support of caregivers at the time of euthanasia helps ease the pain during the grieving process.
  • He writes and sends a condolence letter to the entire family within 24 hours of euthanasia.
  • Some veterinarians include a brief history or profile of the animal.
  • Many include a reminder that death was easy and without suffering.
  • Others may wish to send a separate condolence to a child who seems especially affected by the death and loss of their special friend.

Source: Feldmann BM. Thoughts on the Condolence Letter. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000 Nov 15;217(10):1473-4.

Healing the Pain of Pet Loss Book

Healing the Pain of Pet Loss: Letters in Memoriam
Healing the Pain of Pet Loss: Letters in Memoriam

A collection of inspiring and heart-wrenching letters written by people who have lost a cherished animal.

The writers describe their feelings and the events surrounding the loss and represent a variety of grief experiences.

A helpful resource for someone who has lost a companion pet.

 

A Condolence Note for the Workplace

Butterflies Note Card

Butterflies Note Cards (Stationery) 14 cards and 15 envelopes
Butterflies Note Cards (Stationery) 14 cards and 15 envelopes

Keeping note cards around with a soothing, but professional design is handy for those times you need to write a condolence note at work.

 

Condolence Notes in the Work Place

Florence Isaacs, author of "Business Notes: Writing Personal Notes that build Professional Relationships" (available below) advises that notes in general are a way to acknowledge that people have lives outside of work with families, hopes and dreams.

A personal note affirms the bond that you share as people, not only as colleagues.

Notes help to expresses friendship. Sending a notes is also a way to recognize the events that are important to everyone.

A condolence note is a way of saying "You matter to me as a human being, not only within the confines of the business world."

Example of a Condolence Note for a Business Colleague or Co-worker

With a business setting, it is possible that you maybe writing a condolence note about someone who has died that you have never met.

Even if you have never met the deceased, it can be quite meaningful to the bereaved if you are able to recall any special qualities or memories they may have shared with you in the past about their loved one.

  1. Acknowledge the loss.

    Dear Helen,

    This morning Mr. Moore told us the sad news of your father's sudden death.


  2. Express your sympathy.

    Let me first extend my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. The loss must be very difficult for you as you face these first numbing days of grief.


  3. Note special qualities or recount a memory about the deceased.

    Though I never met your, I remember how touched I was when you described the scene as he recited a poem he'd composed for your mother at their fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration last year. His tenderness and humor were both captured in that story, as was your obvious love for him.


  4. Close with a thoughtful word or phrase.

    Keep in mind that this office is filled with people who care about you and are thinking about you in your sorrow.

    With Heartfelt Condolences

    Your Signature _________________


Source: Counseling Center. Guidelines for Writing Letters of Condolence. Keene State College.

Signing the Condolence Card at Work

Sympathy Card for a Coworker
Sympathy Card for a Coworker | Source

Signing the Business Condolence Card

In the business setting when a colleague dies or a relative of a coworker dies, the death can affect the entire office. Someone in the office may be designated to send a formal Condolence letter.

Signing a sympathy card for someone that you don't know may be difficult. Try and find some comforting words, or generic sympathy closures.

Some helpful suggestions for ways of signing a sympathy card useful for a business setting include:

  • With Deepest Sympathy
  • My sincere sympathy
  • With Heartfelt Condolences
  • May God's Grace strengthen you
  • My sincere respects to you and yours

Others in the office may decide to have everyone sign and send a sympathy card.

Business Notes: Writing Personal Notes Book

Business Notes: Writing Personal Notes That Build Professional Relationships
Business Notes: Writing Personal Notes That Build Professional Relationships

Editor and author Florence Isaacs emphasizes the value of handwritten or typed letters and notes in the business world as the bridges between professional relationships.

She skillfully informs the business professional of the importance and influence of notes.

 

Old Postcard

Old Postcard
Old Postcard | Source

History of Sympathy Cards

Greeting cards began as early human attempts to achieve or maintain relationships with others. The sympathy card was created as a way of expressing emotion, concern and support following a death or a loss.

Sympathy cards may be more popular in the United States than in other countries, where we are often uncomfortable in expressing condolences or hearing about a loss.

Americans lead the use of sympathy notes sending more than 125 million sympathy cards each year.

As a simple gesture of support, sympathy cards provide meaning to both senders and receivers.

The sending of sympathy cards links people together and according to Charles Lippy in his article on "Sympathy Cards and the Grief Process," sending a card "reinforces a sense of community and solidarity in the wake of the calamity of death."

Writing Condolences

Writing Condolences
Writing Condolences | Source

Closing Thoughts on Writing a Condolence Note

A good condolence note is one that comes straight from the heart of the writer and speaks directly to the heart of the recipient.

When writing a condolence note or sympathy card, use the card as a way of expressing your support, thoughts and feelings rather than worrying about following any script or formula.

Perhaps the best advice is to follow the example of children and...

  • Write from the heart.
  • Write what feels right.

Those receiving the note will be able to tell that the expressions have been written from the heart.

Copyright


Creative Commons License © 2008-14 Kirsti A. Dyer MD, MS, FT. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

The material in this resource book may be copied and reproduced on websites or in newsletters, ezines provided that the Author's Biography information is included with any article.

Longer excerpts from this online resource book may not be copied, duplicated or reproduced for use in a for-profit setting without prior written permission by the author.

Contact the Author at the Contact Me link above.

History of the Write a Condolence Note Hub

What Happened with this Hub when it was at Squidoo

The Lens of the Day for March 29, 2010

** Note: This Hub was previously a Lens at Squidoo, until September 2014.**


On March 29, 2010 I was surprised to receive the following email:

From Kimberly Dawn Wells:

********************************

It feels as if writing a letter of condolence can be just as difficult as surviving a tragedy, but it doesn't have to be a downer. Lift spirits and warm someone's day with just the right rules for How to Write a Condolence Note or a Sympathy Note.

Grief expert and veteran lensmaster ComfortDoc has tackled a tricky topic with tips for selecting a card, good reasons to send a note, and solutions to the most challenging part - thinking of something to say.

While we hope you won't have to do it often, it's nice to know the resource is there when you do.

http://www.squidoo.com/write-a-condolence-note

********************************

I hope Kimberly didn't nominate the lens because she needed to send a condolence note.

Lens of the Day - March 29, 2010

Sometimes the rewards come later on.

The How to Write a Condolence Note or Sympathy Note was originally published in February 2008 and on March, 29 2010 the lens was named Lens of the Day, over two years later.

This lens has been consistently in the top tiered list almost since it was published.

How have you been impacted by Condolence Notes?

Be sure to leave your feedback in the comment section below.

© 2008 Kirsti A. Dyer

How to Write a Condolence Note Guestbook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Virginia Allain: Sorry to hear that.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Virginia Allain: Sorry to hear that you've had to write condolence notes.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      You covered this topic very thoroughly. I have to write one now, but I'm getting pretty good at it. Seems like there have been too many lately. Guess it is the age I'm at.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      You covered this topic very thoroughly. I have to write one now, but I'm getting pretty good at it. Seems like there have been too many lately. Guess it is the age I'm at.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @beautyandbeast: Glad I could help.

    • profile image

      beautyandbeast 3 years ago

      This is SO helpful! Thank you so much for sharing! I'm usually at a loss for words to write or say when it comes to situations like these.

    • Alberto-K profile image

      Alberto-K 3 years ago

      Great article. Thanks for sharing.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @katespetcorner1: Glad to help.

    • katespetcorner1 profile image

      katespetcorner1 4 years ago

      Very informative, this is something I always struggle with.

    • katespetcorner1 profile image

      katespetcorner1 4 years ago

      Very informative, this is something I always struggle with.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @josietook: Glad to read that the lens has been helpful. I think writing something from your heart will always be the right thing.

    • josietook profile image

      josietook 4 years ago

      Thank you for writing this lens. I find condolence notes the hardest thing to write and usually back out of it as I don't want to say the wrong thing. This has really helped.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @jennabeezer: I am happy to hear that the information was able to help. Trying to find something to say after a sudden death I think is one of the more difficult condolence writing challenges, but sending your sympathies is definitely better than not sending them at all.

    • profile image

      ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

      This was well done! Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      jennabeezer 4 years ago

      I have been agonizing over what to say to our recently widowed neighbor following her husband's sudden death in an accident. Thank you for outlining the basics here.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @ConvenientCalendar: Thank you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @anonymous: A beautiful way to describe how one feels after a death, that the heart stops. Glad to know the writing prompts may be of use.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      When a death has occurred it seems the heart stops. It is so difficult to capture the words. Thanks for this resource of writing prompts.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @anonymous: I think those that send the notes are often the ones who were recipients and realize the importance of something more tangible than a text message.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I still send hand written condolence notes, It's difficult but it is important. I try harder since my mother passed. Good lens.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @Aunt-Mollie: I think if you write from the heart, your sympathy comes through.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      I so very much agree that this is one of the most difficult things to write. Even as a professional writer, it takes a long time for me to compose words for a sympathy card. You do present some thoughtful suggestions.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @mrdata: Thank you for your kind words. This isn't a topic that most people want to deal with.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 4 years ago

      What a wonderful resource you've made. I think the key components of a condolence letter and note are so helpful. I will refer back to this in time, I know. This is a very difficult task to do, but very important, and you're right, many don't know how important until they begin to receive their own condolence cards. thanks for writing this great guide,and congrats on your wonderful and well-deserved lens of the day award.

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      Very helpful lens! Thanks for sharing great ideas with us! Best wishes to you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @anonymous: Thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      nice lens

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @happymonkeyz: You are welcome.

    • happymonkeyz profile image

      happymonkeyz 4 years ago

      I have often struggled to write sympathy notes. thanks for sharing.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @anonymous: Thank you. So much enthusiasm for a topic that most people don't want to deal with.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Awesome information!

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @imagelist lm: Thank you

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      Great lens with valuable info...

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @LynetteBell: Saddened to read that you needed to use the lens.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Thank you. I received news yesterday that a friend had passed away...not unexpected but that doesn't stop the sadness.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @MargaritasWorld: Thank you. I am saddened to read that you have had personal experience with the loss of a child.

    • MargaritasWorld profile image

      Margarita Boettcher 5 years ago from Morrison, Colorado

      Really great lens. I lost a child in 2000. You have some great advice here.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @SecondSally: Glad to know that the lens was helpful.

    • SecondSally profile image

      SecondSally 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great lens. An old friend just emailed me this week to let me know that her mother had passed away. I felt terrible that we had fallen out of contact and wasn't really sure how to reply appropriately.

    • jadapotata profile image

      jadapotata 5 years ago

      Great lens. Lots of useful information. Thank you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @StewartClan: Sharing stories and memories about someone who has died can be very helpful for family members. It can give them a chance to remember happier times.

    • StewartClan profile image

      StewartClan 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for this lens, death is something very difficult for everyone, and we all worry about the right thing to say. When I write a card, if at all possible, I try and include a memory I have of the person that passed away. Thanks again!

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @tricomanagement: Thank you

    • tricomanagement profile image

      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      it is the thought and prayers that help - cards can express that sincere feeling -great suggestions

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @Stazjia: A letter or note is something tangible that can be held and read when the person is ready or again and again as needed.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 5 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      It's so hard to write a letter or note of condolence but it's worth the effort because often these are some comfort to the bereaved.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @chft55 lm: Sympathy cards may seem like an old fashioned tradition, but it is one that means so much to the recipient.

    • chft55 lm profile image

      chft55 lm 5 years ago

      Great lens and nice topic! I feel like a lot of people hesitate to write sympathy cards because they don't know what to day and are afraid their card will be stupid or offensive. This was really helpful.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      I wish I could find you and give you a great big hug! This is such wonderful information. The importance of communicating, at any time, can never be over stated. If we truly want community, we must truly take the risk of speaking or writing when it's hard. Thank you so much for encouraging us to support each other in times of need.

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      good one.. :)

    • profile image

      antoniow 5 years ago

      Very nicely done lens! Great job Squidlike!

    • profile image

      maraga 5 years ago

      thank you for your tips. i will tweet your lens

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      Fantastic resource and pinned

      http://pinterest.com/MadeInUK/how-to/

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 5 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      I really appreciate the examples and the excellent reminder of how important condolence cards are after a personal loss. Thanks!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      What an informative and educational lens! I appreciate it! Blessed!

    • tomazg profile image

      tomazg 5 years ago

      Thank you for writing about this topic. There are a lot of people who do not know what to say and you help them.

    • profile image

      oiloflife 5 years ago

      Thank you SOOO much for this article....

    • profile image

      entertainmentev 5 years ago

      It can be so difficult to know what to say. Thank you for the valuable information.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Brilliant work here. Such an emotional subject. Blessed!

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

      This lens is a generous gift of information and resources to help anyone who needs to express sympathy and condolences. I especially appreciated your thoughtful examples for wording condolences. And, thank you for your understanding instructions on expressing sympathy for the loss of a pet. How kind of you to include that! I will be back next time I need to write a sympathy note.

    • profile image

      getwellsoon 5 years ago

      I find it difficult but very important to give a sympathy card to those who have a loved one pass away.

    • profile image

      sellhousefastusa 5 years ago

      As much as I have gone through in life and still learning and willing to learn more thanks for the this lens

    • BenJacklin LM profile image

      BenJacklin LM 5 years ago

      Great info, well presented. Sensitive subject too!

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      Helpful information beautifully presented. Thank you.

    • ngio64 profile image

      ngio64 5 years ago

      Wow, I am speechless at the wealth of information on this lens. Blessed!

    • profile image

      ScrollSawChuck 5 years ago

      Thanks for the very helpful and thoughtful information.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Beautiful lens on very sad subject. Thank you!

    • profile image

      VillaDejaBlue 5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Great work thumbs up!

    • sarahrk lm profile image

      sarahrk lm 5 years ago

      Writing a condolence note is so difficult for me. I will keep this handy and refer to it often.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      I like your guidelines on how to write a condolence letter versus a condolence note. I think the overall point is to let the person know that their loved one will be missed and that you are there for them as a shoulder to lean on whenever they need.

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 5 years ago

      Wow so much information! Manners are such a lost art. Thank you for this wonderful lense.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Kind and sensitive advice to use for a difficult time, thank you.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      Dear Comfortdoc,

      What a beautiful lens! It truly touches my heart.

      For the past eleven years, I have created what I call "memorial cards" for those who have lost loved ones. These are the cards that are distributed at the memorial service, so that each mourner will have a special memory to take home, including beautiful pictures along with the story of that person's life. Reading your lens helped me to recognize a kindred spirit.

      Thank you!

    • Northwestphotos profile image

      Northwestphotos 5 years ago

      Wonderful and sensitively written lens. No wonder it received the Lens of the Day Award!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Such a wonderful lens. Thanks for the beautiful ideas for the condolence cards.

    • niceman91 lm profile image

      niceman91 lm 5 years ago

      thanks for the great idea.will bookmark you lens should i need to use it in the future:)

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 6 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Thank you so much for this important lens. I'll bookmark it for future reference. Cercis :+)

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 6 years ago from Gloucester

      Thanks so much for this - I used to think that sending a condolence note or card was detrimental because of being a reminder of the loss. But having had a loss myself, I realised the immense value of knowing people care. As you say, it's a reminder you have people who care about you (not a reminder of the loss itself as that of course is there anyway). It's great to have this information of what to write though, since it's one of the most difficult things in life - knowing what to say to someone who's grieving. Thank you :)

    • jenniferteacher1 profile image

      jenniferteacher1 6 years ago

      Thank you for this! I never know what to say when I write letters of condolence.

    • Leilani-m profile image

      Leilani-m 6 years ago

      Great lens! I always had trouble with writing condolances

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 6 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Thank you! Your sensitive insight is extremely helpful. Reaching out to others when they need it most is so important. Too often we want to avoid the awkwardness.

    • john35055 profile image

      john35055 6 years ago

      Great examples on the letters, thanks

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Great advice - it's really challenging to write a condolence note.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for this wonderful information on an area that is challenging for so many people. I am bookmarking this because sometimes I find myself at a loss for words, but your lens will get me through that.

    • profile image

      aussieremovals 6 years ago

      Your lens is really informative. I would fallow them.

    • DavidCzajka profile image

      DavidCzajka 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing tips regarding condolence letter, as am the one who need this most of the times :P

    • profile image

      writer_villa 6 years ago

      Good lens!

    • profile image

      squidoolover76 6 years ago

      Really very good ideas you provided,thanks

    • profile image

      Lauried 6 years ago

      I have bookmarked your lens. Lots of time i stumble for words. This is helpful

    • profile image

      crudeoilsystems 6 years ago

      Very meaningful lens, thank you.

    • profile image

      crudeoilsystems 6 years ago

      I like it, very meaningful lens. thanks!

    • profile image

      friendshipquotes 6 years ago

      Such a wonderful lens with useful info. Liked it..:)

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 6 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      A truly beautiful and meaningful lens. Thank you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 6 years ago from Northern California

      @Franksterk: Sudden, tragic and traumatic deaths can be the worst. I am sure sending condolences to their loved ones will help them to know that the community shares in their loss.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      I'm back as a SquidAngel to bless this wonderful lens. We just recently had two wonderful, giving men gunned down in our small town and I needed this lens to help me through it. Just reading the lens helped me understand how best to send condolences to their loved ones. Although I did not personally know these two men, the work they did in the community affected my life in a multitude of ways. Thank you for putting this excellent lens together. Bear hugs, Frankie

    • profile image

      cornelsimms 6 years ago

      Wow! Your lens was all wonderful.

    • profile image

      Mosoma 6 years ago

      Very informative and well done lens.Thank you.